art hed After 35 years, Kmart to close in Mt. Pleasant

Kmart will have three stores in the Charleston region after closing its Mount Pleasant location at U.S. Highway 17 and Bowman Road.

A prominent corner in Mount Pleasant is about to lose its anchor retail tenant, opening up the site for redevelopment.

The long-standing Kmart at Johnnie Dodds Boulevard and Bowman Road is closing.

The 87,000-square-foot retail store will begin its liquidation sale Oct. 27, Sears Holdings spokesman Howard Riefs said Wednesday. Kmart is part of Chicago-based Sears Holdings.

No closing date has been set, he said.

“Store closures are part of a series of actions we’re taking to reduce ongoing expenses, adjust our asset base and accelerate the transformation of our business model,” Riefs said.

The store opened in November 1978, but its sales have suffered in recent years as competitors entered and expanded in the town. Walmart, for example, has two larger stores with full-service grocery sections farther up U.S. Highway 17, including one that’s less than a mile away.

The Kmart employs 43 workers, who can apply for positions at other Kmart and Sears stores.

The retailer, part of a 131,000-square-foot shopping center off Bowman Road, is owned by Daniel Island-based Grove Property Fund LLC, which bought the 17-acre site in 2011 for $5.5 million with other partners.

The shopping center also includes a Little Caesars Pizza and Dollar General store, but it has large empty spaces as well, including a fitness center that went dark in 2009.

A Grove Property Fund representative said the property will be redeveloped into a mix of uses, including retail. No formal redevelopment plan is in place.

“The property is ripe for development and offers the opportunity to attract national retailers to the difficult-to-enter Mount Pleasant market,” according to a description of the site on Grove Property Fund’s website.

The owner projected the shopping center will see new stores in 2015. It said several prospects have expressed interest in the site, which sits in the middle of one of the highest-income markets in the Charleston area.

Little Caesars Pizza and the Dollar General store hold leases and could be incorporated in redevelopment plans, Grove Property Fund said.

A key hurdle in the past to the property being sold was that Kmart had the option to extend its lease eight times, each for a period of five years.

The property owner said it has worked out an arrangement with Kmart on the lease that allowed the store to close and the property to be redeveloped. Kmart has three other stores in the Lowcountry: in West Ashley on Savannah Highway, in North Charleston on Rivers Avenue and near Summerville on Ladson Road.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or